Archbishop Bernard Longley used the occasion of his homily at Christmas Midnight Mass 2012 to urge those who have the power to create jobs across the West Midlands to “be imaginative and generous” in providing new work opportunities during 2013.
Preaching in the Metropolitan Cathedral and Basilica of St Chad, Birmingham, the Archbishop of Birmingham said: “We remember all those families across the West Midlands struggling to make this a happy Christmas because of unemployment or uncertainty about work in the coming year. We ask the Prince of Peace to inspire those who have power to create jobs to be imaginative and generous in providing new work opportunities for our local communities over this coming year.”
Archbishop Longley added: “At this season of the year we long and pray especially for the gift of peace in a troubled world and we remember those communities where peace seems a distant prospect. On this great Christian feast we are united in prayer with the Churches of the Middle East, where the presence of the Prince of Peace was first manifested.
“We remember the grieving families of the children and teachers whose lives were brought to a violent end in an evil moment of madness. We ask the Prince of Peace to direct the actions of politicians to find ways of ending the culture of violence and disregard for the value of human life.
The Archbishop concluded: “In the Year of Faith (inaugurated by Pope Benedict XVI in Rome, during October 2012) we are being challenged to witness to our faith in the Incarnation of Christ with a new ardour and enthusiasm this Christmas.”
At the start of Mass Archbishop Bernard Longley went to the Lady Chapel, situated to the left of the sanctuary, for the short but moving ceremony of the Blessing of the Crib.
The Archbishop then warmly welcomed everyone, and mentioned in particular visitors and those who had come to St Chad’s Cathedral – the Pugin gem, situated on the edge of the world-famous Birmingham Jewellery Quarter – for the first time.
Archbishop Longley said that the figures in the Crib this year came from the Crib placed in a prominent position in the German Market in Birmingham city centre for some weeks until it closed on Saturday, 22 December 2012.
Canon Gerry Breen, the Cathedral Dean, and Monsignor Robert Murphy, a priest of the Archdiocese of Birmingham, who works in the Diplomatic Service of the Holy See – presently serving at the Apostolic Nunciature in Berlin – concelebrated Mass with the Archbishop.
St Chad’s Cathedral was packed to capacity and members of the congregation sang the carols before Mass with great enthusiasm.
During Mass, the beautiful singing of St Chad’s Cathedral Choir (conducted by the Director of Music, Dr David Saint) added splendour to a joyful, inspirational and memorable celebration of the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord.